The US Department of Agriculture says that Fruitland American Meat, a Jackson, Mo. beef company, is recalling more than 4,000 pounds of beef due to a potential risk for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), also referred to as mad cow disease.
Thursday morning the USDA announced that a Whole Foods distribution center in Connecticut that serves stores in New England received the potentially tainted beef.
Not all beef is at risk. The bone-in “Rain Crow Ranch Ribeye” and quartered beef carcasses bearing establishment number EST. 2316 inside the USDA mark of inspection are currently being recalled.
Heather McCready, spokesperson for the North Atlantic Whole Foods, said in an email exchange Thursday afternoon that all stores in Massachusetts received the recalled product except for the newest Whole Foods location in Hyannis, Mass. The affected stores are located in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. Nationally, the recall applies to 34 out of 383 Whole Foods stores.
“We are closely monitoring this issue with one of our suppliers, to ensure full compliance with the USDA’s regulations and our own high quality standards for beef,” said McCready. “There have been no cases of reported BSE or any other illnesses associated with this product, and no products currently in our stores are affected.”
There was no indication that any of cattle displayed signs of BSE, according to the USDA.
The specific problem area of the beef is the dorsal root ganglia, which the USDA says may not have been completely removed. These are branches of the cow’s central nervous system along the spine. If the cow was infected with BSE, this is the area where the infected tissues would be located. Regulations require that they be removed from cattle more than 30 months old. It appears that procedure was not followed for the beef in question.
The USDA has classified this recall as a low health risk, but a Class II recall: “This is a health hazard situation where there is a remote probability of adverse health consequences from the use of the product,” reads the USDA website.
The bone-in ribeyes roasts, according to the USDA, were distributed to two restaurants: One in New York City and one in Kansas city, Mo.
How do you know to be wary of your beef?
Examine the USDA mark of inspection sticker.
USDA says to watch out for the following production dates, which will be printed on the box: 9/5/13, 9/10/13, 9/11/13, 9/26/13, 10/2/13, 10/3/2013, 11/8/13, 11/22/13, 12/17/13, 12/26/13, 12/27/13,1/16/14, 1/17/14, 1/23/14, 1/31/14, 2/13/14, 2/14/14, 2/21/14, 2/28/14, 3/8/14, 3/20/14, 4/4/14 or 4/25/14.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.
Correction: An earlier version of this article contained a typo and misstated the name of the ribeye being recalled. The recalled ribeye is Rain Crow Ranch Ribeye.Chelsea Rice is a health producer for Boston.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @ChelseaRice.